cross stitch bag “Gypsy Lady” with #

work in process, trying out different ways to decorate

This is a circa 1960s-70s cross stitch of a painting by “Torino” – Little is known about Torino other than he was prevalent from around the 50s to the 70s and there are a few versions (poses) of this “Gypsy Lady” print.

Came across this cross stitch work at second hand store. There it was lying amongst other finished and half finished needle works just for 3€. I knew at once what I wanted to do from it certainly something that will not go unnoticed. First I was playing around with the idea to really make the gypsy lady fierce with tattoos and make-up but after a few try outs I skipped that idea. The cross stitch work is beautifully done and it would be a shame to hide it. I needed a piece of fabric to go with it and choose checkered black and white, to make the whole look more contemporary. When the two pieces were joined it felt like the bag needs a message. Something to do with gypsy way of life, for example fortune telling, freedom and spiritual things. So I came up with the hashtag sign. Under the # one can imagine these words.

Back part of the bag is done out of recycled leather and handles are from old thrifted bag. The leather pieces that hold the handles are parts from a belt and the black rings curtain parts. So again 100% recycled, remake and zero waste.

handles from old bag, leather parts to hold handle old belt

diy gypsy lady cross stitch bag with # decoration

diy gypsy lady cross stitch bag with # decoration

 

 

 

Big tote with medieval touch

Photoshoot for the bag took place in very mystical surroundings….

This project was started up by two pieces of fabric sofa samples that I found second hand…and one belt. Idea was to make a roomy bag, easy to sew and without any super fancy decorations.

But as the project went on I wanted to do something extra, to give that unique touch to this bag also rather than leaving it just black. I found from my cross stitch stock this “dragon”. It´s almost ten years ago I bought it and now was the right moment for it. By placing it in the middle of the bag it serves also as a pocket. Buttons are vintage too, red ones to boost up the red from the cross stitch.

Canvas belt found second hand had some nice studs on it and looks amazing as handles for the bag. By hand stitching some decor to one of the handles makes it look raw and crafty and the pattern just “created itself” while stitching.

Overall look of the bag is a little bit medieval- maybe thanks to the studs and the dragon. Location to shoot the bag was in this case easy to figure out- it is an old mill from 17th century in Röttle near Gränna Sweden. I think I felt some vibes from times passed by while taking pics there…

 

zig zag cross stitch bag

Cross stitching crazyness! Really how can people give/throw away these beautiful and extra nicely stitched piece of art works? I believe there will be a time when these vintage cross stitch handcrafts will be worth gold.

But until that, let`s do a bag out of one zig zag patterned, thrifted cross stitch. It was a pillow cover when I found it from second hand Erikshjälpen Jönköping. Mostly when I come across these old handicrafts they are pillow covers or wall decorations. The colors on this one are bold and I like how the lilac color pops up from the whole palette. I had a piece of brown leather from one earlier project and decided to go towards gold color in the metallic parts and decorations. For the lining I choose sturdy denim so the bag will stay in shape even when empty.

 

Again all parts fort this bag are recycled from second hand bags. My mission is to buy as little as possible straight from the craft stores but to do a bag with good and functional elements requires a lot of different metallic parts. Such as magnetic closures which I usually take apart from my second hand bags. Handles and straps are also quite tricky;  to do a long leather strap requires a lot of good leather and usually that is hard to achieve with leftover leather scraps, so again second hand bags to the rescue!

I am pleased how solid the outcome is, all colors match together and even the gold colored labels fit in with the look.

diy bag photoshoot by the waterside with hand lettered board

diy bag with recycled cross stitch and leather

diy vintage cross stitch bag photoshoot by waterside with thriftwood